Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
|First Amendment, Free Press Advocacy
|Bruce D. Brown
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) is an American nonprofit organization, founded in 1970, that provides free legal assistance to and on behalf of journalists. Its offices are located in Arlington County, Virginia, and the executive committee is chaired by Pierre Thomas of ABC News. The steering committee includes Wolf Blitzer, Tony Mauro, Andrea Mitchell, and Judy Woodruff; Walter Cronkite was an active member from 1973 until his death in 2009. The organization publishes a quarterly magazine, The News Media and The Law.
The RCFP was formed in 1970 after New York Times reporter Earl Caldwell was ordered to reveal his sources within the Black Panthers. Journalists including Ben Bradlee, Tom Wicker, and Mike Wallace met to find a way to protect their First Amendment rights. Early on, Jack C. Landau, who became the first executive director, implemented the legal defense project that is central to the organization today.
Freedom of Speech and Information
One of the most significant activities that RCFP undertakes is promoting freedom of information in the United States through publishing its Open Government Guide, which reviews the open records and open meetings laws in each of the fifty states. The guide includes expert commentary by attorneys in each state who are familiar with the provisions of their state's code as well as court rulings and informal practices that combine to affect the climate in each state for the public's ability to obtain copies of public documents and attend government meetings.
The RCFP actively aids in defending reporters facing subpoenas and court orders to disclose the identity of confidential sources. The Reporters Committee is also involved in a variety of First Amendment, shield law, freedom of information, and other free speech activities, including state open records and meetings law compliance. In addition, the Reporters Committee files legal briefs on a variety of issues that affect a journalist's ability to gather and disseminate news and maintains a 24-hour legal defense hotline for journalists and media lawyers.
- The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press official website
- Digital archive of quarterly magazine, The News Media and the Law, from Vol. 24, No. 1 (Winter 2000), to the present
- The RCFP Open Government Guide
- Steering Committee, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Retrieved 31 Dec. 2014.
- Cullinan, Kathleen. "Walter Cronkite, CBS anchor, steering committee member, dies at 92," The News Media and the Law, Summer 2009, p. 19.
- Toobin, Jeffrey. "Name That Source," The New Yorker, p. 30, 16 January 2006.